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Oct 30, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

If at least one of your parents attended graduate school it is likelier that you will, too. 

New data from the Association of American Law Schools and Gallup found that undergraduate students are more likely to consider graduate school if at least one of their parents went to grad school.

The survey, Beyond the Bachelor’s: Undergraduate Perspectives on Graduate and Professional Degrees (PDF), found 41 percent of students considering graduate or professional education have at least one parent with an advanced degree compared to 33 percent whose parents have a bachelor's degree and 26 percent whose parents do not have a four-year degree. 

The connection between levels of parental education and college enrollment is not new. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, about one-third of the US' college students are first generation.

The report says, "To encourage more first-generation students to pursue advanced degrees, colleges and universities need to do more to assure that information equitably reaches all undergraduates. […] This [report] will enable graduate and professional schools to provide more relevant information to prospective students and, where appropriate, to revise their curricula to better meet the goals of incoming students."

Gallup and the Association of American Law Schools surveyed over 22,000 college students on career aspirations, information and advice resources, and academic backgrounds. The report also explores demographic differences in gender, parental education, race and ethnicity, and academic achievement.

According to the press release, Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council, said, "The future of graduate education is being built on data, and this study provides a wealth of information based on a very large sample size. We are proud to sponsor Beyond the Bachelor’s as an important addition to the continuum of data we provide to benefit higher education and legal education."

Learn more about earning your master's degree. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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